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The 90 Day Plan

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What is a dispersant?

One example of a dispersant for oil

  • Canada: addition of 2-butoxyethanol to list of toxic substances., Coat., Reg. Environ., 2005, , 2005-09-01, Pages -

2-Butoxyethanol has been added to the list of toxic substances under schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999. The risk assessment for 2-butoxyethanol determined that concentrations of 2.3 ppm posed a risk to health. Consumer exposure modelling suggested that the use of products containing 2-butoxyethanol in an indoor setting could exceed this concentration. The Canadian authorities determined that of four hundred and forty four cleaning, painting and coating products containing 2-butoxyethanol available for indoor use around two hundred and sixty contained 2-butoxyethanol at concentrations which exceeded the limit values. The regulations exclude outdoor use, use in manufacturing, use in scientific research as a solvent or analytical standard.

Chronic exposure to 2-butoxyethanol increased liver hemangiosarcomas in male mice. The mechanism for the selective induction of hemangiosarcomas by 2-butoxyethanol in unknown but has been suggested to occur through non-DNA-reactive mechanisms. The occurrence of liver hemangiosarcomas in male mice has been linked to oxidative damage subsequent to RBC hemolysis and iron deposition and activation of macrophages (Kupffer cells) in the liver, events that exhibit a threshold in both animals and humans. 2-Butoxyethanol is metabolized to 2-butoxyacetaldehyde and 2-butoxyacetic acid, and although the aldehyde metabolite is short lived, the potential exists for this metabolite to cause DNA damage. The present study examined whether 2-butoxyacetic acid and its metabolites, 2-butoxyacetaldehyde and 2-butoxyacetic acid, damaged mouse endothelial cell DNA using comet assay. No increase in DNA damage was observed following 2-butoxyethanol (1 - 10 mM), 2-butoxyacetaldehyde (0.1 - 1.0 mM), or 2-butoxyacetic acid (1 - 10 mM) in endothelial cells after 2, 4, or 24 h exposure. Additional studies examined the involvement of hemolysis and macrophage activation in 2-butoxyethanol carcinogenesis. DNA damage was produced by hemolyzed RBCs (10 × 1064 h), ferrous sulfate (0.1 - 1.0 µM; 2 - 24 h), and hydrogen peroxide (50 - 100 µM; 1 - 4 h) in endothelial cells. Hemolyzed RBCs also activated macrophages, as evidenced by increased tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, while neither 2-butoxyethanol nor butoxyacetic acid increased TNF-α from macrophages. The effect of activated macrophages on endothelial cell DNA damage and DNA synthesis was also studied. Coculture of endothelial cells with activated macrophages increased endothelial cell DNA damage after 4 h or 24 h and increased endothelial cell DNA synthesis after 24 h. These data demonstrate that 2-butoxyethanol and related metabolites do not directly cause DNA damage. Supportive evidence also demonstrated that damaged RBCs, iron, and/or products from macrophage activation (possibly reactive oxygen species) produce DNA damage in endothelial cells and that activated macrophages stimulated endothelial cell proliferation. These events coupled together provide the events necessary for the induction of hemangiosarcomas by 2-butoxyethanol.

Male B6C3F1 mice and F344 rats were treated by gavage with 1 or 5mM 2-butoxyethanol (BE) for 7 days. In addition, hepatocytes were treated with BE, its metabolite 2-butoxyacetic acid (BAA) or iron sulfate. BE induced oxidative stress in the liver of mice. Neither BE nor BAA induced changes in the oxidative stress parameters examined in either rat or mouse hepatocytes, whereas iron affected the biomarkers. Mouse hepatocytes were more sensitive to oxidative damage from iron sulfate than rat hepatocytes. Induction of hepatic oxidative stress by 2-butoxyethanol in vivo occurs secondary to induction of haemolysis and iron deposition in the liver.

SHE cells were treated with 2-butoxyethanol (BE), its 2-butoxyacetic acid (BAA) metabolite or ferrous sulfate for 7 days. BE and BAA did not induce cellular transformation, but ferrous sulfate increased morphological transformation via oxidative stress. The level of oxidative DNA damage increased following ferrous sulfate treatment. The results support the proposal that iron produced through haemolysis, and not BE or BAA, is responsible for the observed hepatocarcinogenicity of BE in rodents.

Male B6C3F1 mice and F344 rats were treated by oral gavage with 0-900 or 0-450 mg/kg/day 2-butoxyethanol, respectively, for 7-90 days. Haemolysis and iron deposition in Kupffer cells increased in a dose-dependent manner, haematocrit decreased and spleen weight increased. Mouse liver showed increased oxidative damage and DNA synthesis in hepatocytes and endothelial cells. The results are discussed in terms of the induction of liver tumours in mice.

  • EPA proposes delisting of 2-butoxyethanol from hazardous air pollutant (HAP) classification., Coat., Reg. Environ., 2004, , 2004-03-01, Pages -

The Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposes to remove ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (2-butoxyethanol, EGBE) from its list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). EGBE has been found to damage red blood cells but it does not cause cancer in humans at exposure levels likely to be encountered in air. EPA will consider any new medical evidence presented which indicates other health risks before making a final decision. EGBE is used as a coalescent in waterborne coatings. The ruling is significant because many EPA restrictions on volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions relate only to HAPs rather than any broader classification.

2-Butoxyethanol, a forestomach carcinogen in mice exposed by inhalation, has been shown to enter the forestomach as a result of grooming and ingestion of material condensed on the skin and fur during exposure. On entering the stomach, it is metabolised by dehydrogenase enzymes to 2-butoxyacetic acid which was found to cause a marked hyperkeratosis in the forestomach following oral dosing. There was a marked species difference in the metabolism of 2-butoxyethanol in forestomach fractions with the maximum rates up to one order of magnitude greater in mouse than rat. The dehydrogenases responsible for this metabolism were heavily concentrated in the stratified squamous epithelium of the forestomach of both rats and mice, whereas in the glandular stomach the distribution was more diffuse. In human stomach both enzymes were evenly distributed throughout the epithelial cells of the mucosa. It is concluded that 2-butoxyethanol is ingested following inhalation exposure and concentrates in the forestomach where it is metabolised to 2-butoxyacetic acid which causes cellular damage, increased cell replication, hyperkeratosis and ultimately tumours. Differences in structure and enzyme distribution between the rodent and human stomach suggest that the responses seen in the mouse are unlikely to occur in humans.

  • V. J. Cogliano, Y. Grosse, R. A. Baan, M. B. Secretan, F. El Ghissassi. Meeting report: summary of IARC monographs on formaldehyde, 2-butoxyethanol, and 1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol., Environ. Health Perspect., 2005, 113, 1205, Volume 113, Issue 9, 2005-11-01, Pages 1205-1208

An international, interdisciplinary working group of expert scientists met in June 2004 to develop IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans (IARC Monographs) on formaldehyde, 2-butoxyethanol, and l-tert-butoxy-2-propanol. Each IARC Monograph includes a critical review of the pertinent scientific literature and an evaluation of an agent's potential to cause cancer in humans. After a thorough discussion of the epidemiologic, experimental, and other relevant data, the working group concluded that formaldehyde is carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence in humans and in experimental animals. In the epidemiologic studies, there was sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer, "strong but not sufficient" evidence of leukaemia, and limited evidence of sinonasal cancer. The working group also concluded that 2-butoxyethanol and l-tert-butoxy-2-propanol are not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans, each having limited evidence in experimental animals and inadequate evidence in humans. These three evaluations and the supporting data will be published as Volume 88 of the IARC Monographs.

US EPA's integrated risk information system (IRIS) assessment of 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) indicates that the human carcinogenic potential of EGBE cannot be determined at this time, but that "suggestive evidence" for cancer exists from laboratory animal studies (hemangiosarcoma of the liver in male mice and forestomach squamous cell papilloma or carcinoma in female mice [National Toxicology Program (NTP), 2000a. Toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of 2-butoxyethanol (CAS no. 111-76-2) in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice (inhalation studies). National Toxicology Program Technical Report Series No. 484. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Washington, DC]). Since the last EGBE IRIS assessment, a number of studies have provided evidence that the carcinogenic effects observed in mice are nonlinear in their mode of action and may be dependent on threshold events such as EGBE-induced hemolytic effects. EPA is in the process of considering several questions relating to this issue. First, can a plausible mode of action be determined for the two types of tumors observed in mice? Second, are the mechanisms involved applicable to humans? If so, should the mode of action be considered to result in a linear or nonlinear dose-response? These questions will be addressed within the context of the agency's new cancer guidelines and with regard to how the answers might affect a revised IRIS assessment for EGBE.

The pharmacokinetics of 2-butoxyethanol (BE; ethylene glycol butyl ether) and its metabolite butoxyacetic acid (BAA) were studied in female B6C3F1 mice to examine the observation of forestomach tumours after inhalation exposure. Oral dosing with BE caused irritation in the forestomach, but only small amounts were present on the fur after inhalation studies. Parenteral administration also resulted in forestomach lesions, indicating that sources other than grooming were responsible. BE and BAA were eliminated more slowly from forestomach tissue than blood or other tissue, and were present for a prolonged period after oral gavage or intraperitoneal injection. Thus, several factors govern the levels of BE and BAA in the forestomach, resulting in contact irritation, compensatory hyperplasia and tumorigenicity.


Preservation Paddleouts a Success!

The series got off to a gradual start and ramped up as we moved up the coast. We started in La Jolla on June 5th, then moved north to Crystal Cove in Orange County and Point Dume. In La Jolla, we were a small part of the day's events as we joined up forced with SD Coastkeeper and 5 other organizations. Personally, i was out of town for a close friend's wedding, so it only ended up being Kristian and our friend Paul, and Jodie Nelson.

Crystal Cove was a calm day initially, where we met up with Whitney Graves and Ray Hiemstra in the morning and paddled with Jodie Nelson of the SUP Spot in the afternoon - into a headwind on the way back. We had a great followup day at Point Dume with Joe Geever, Sarah Sikich and Brian Meux. Jodie joined us again, this time with her 15 year old son Taylor. We paddled from Point Dume to Paradise Cove where Kristian, Jodie and Taylor chased a few waves and we all had a chance to poke around and enjoy the views and speak with local surfers about the marine protected area and their take on it. Along the way we saw plenty of jellyfish the size of a dinner plate!

Brian was a rockstar, meeting us with 2 reporters (one of whom helped chum the water, unfortunately not attracting any fish or other creatures... hopefully the feeling passed on her way in!). All in all, it was an awesome day and had us digging in to a phenomenal couple of weeks.

The subsequent weekend brought us to Naples Reef where we met up with Greg, Michael and Jenn. A friend of mine from Coastal CODE and his wife (who happen to live on a ranch across the street and a few miles north of El Capitan) joined us. Coincidentally enough, they are friends of Gregs, so it was a bit of a reunion! We had a great paddle out to Naples Reef where we met up with the Channelkeeper boat, a very enthusastic young freelancer, photographers and a film crew from the Cousteau foundation (I am embarassed to say I do not recall their names). We were graciously treated to a wonderful lunch, great conversation and plenty of snorkeling in the grasses along the kelp beds. We jumped off the boat and continued south to Haskell's beach. While we had a small after party planned, it was a bit of a flop, considering the only people that made it were Kristian, me and Greg. Nevertheless, we had fun and the bartenders invited a bunch of their friends so we could have a few beers and not feel like the only people who care about Marine Protected Areas! After sleeping for a few hours in the car, we made an early morning beeline for Monterey Bay.

After 4 hours of driving, we arrived at Cannery Row at 6 am, and slept a couple of hours in the parking lot by the fishing docks. We met up with Sarah, Steve Schimek, Sean of the Pelagic Shark Foundation, and a few other well respected scientists with a deep knowledge of kelp beds and the history of MPA's in Monterey Bay. It was an incredible day with plenty of sealife to enjoy (we paddled past the aquarium and were greeted by dozens of curious harbor seals, sea lions and sea otters interested to see who was bumbling through their backyard.

This past weekend, we made our way to Half Moon Bay in an all night burst of caffine and raw energy to paddle Maverick's with Bob Breen and Joao de Macedo of the Save the Waves Coaltion. This paddle - from Mavericks beach to Montara - was done in 5-7' seas at an 8 second interval. It was long and tiring, but we were greeted by an enthusiastic group of 50 some odd people who came out for a Hands Across the Sands gathering at Montara. Although 2 of the 3 of us almost got our clocks cleaned by the wild shore break there, we managed to safely land, enjoy the multitude of beautiful jellyfish that populate the area and a cold beer and watch the final few minutes of the US's heartbreaking loss after at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

The real treat (and embodiment of the unknown potential our expeditions hold) was on Sunday. Joao joined us again up at Point Reyes, where we visited Pt Reyes Light, and we were joined by writer Steve Chapple, who wrote a feature article in the June Readers Digest about Kristian and an expedition we took down the Atchafalaya River. We traveled out to Pt Reyes light and to Drakes Estero in search of a place to put in. We were greeted with a sign warning of great penalties for disturbing harbor seal pupping from March 1 - June 30th, so we gave a pass on paddling in that location. We did, however, meet Kevin Lunny, the owner of the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, who gave us an incredible education on the strength and necessity of oysters as a filter feeder. He offered up great ideas, and is an awesome resource for us to learn more about ecologically and economically balanced solutions to cleaning up our waterways. We'll be making a return trip to paddle Drakes Estero with him and learn more about his operation and efforts to create a zero waste business - between his oyster and cattle farm. He embodies sustainable agriculture, and is also embroiled in an incredible battle with the National Parks Service who forced him to sell his families land in the waters of that area, and are now attempting to pull his lease. We could write a documentary just about him!

We chose Tomales Bay for our paddle, and explored the grasslands and marsh areas as far as the skegs on our Stand Up Paddles would allow us to venture.

The beauty of these expeditions is the people we meet along the way. Characters like all of you, and Mark and Wendy - a couple that Steve is friends with who let us camp in the tall grasses in their home along Tomales Bay, and Kevin Lunny make it worth it - educational for us and inspiring to find and advocate for new solutions in our ongoing collective quest to protect our rivers and oceans. I have forwarded pictures to you, and at Michael Sheey's suggestion, will be working to put together a short video specifically for the Aug 4-5th DFG meeting that chronicles our journey and collective efforts.

Again, our heartfelt thanks for helping us set the foundation for a phenomenal new outreach tool to help engage people in your efforts and to take ownership for our most vital natural resources.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Below the Surface Lands at Hands Across the Sands!

Below the Surface co-founders Jared Criscuolo and Kristian Gustavson on the Preservation Paddleouts expedition up the Pacific Coast meet up with Joao de Macedo of the Save the Waves Coalition, professional surfer and writer for a paddle from Maverick's surf break to Montara Beach. They met up with activists from all over the United States who had gathered as 1 of 800 groups throughout America to stand up in protest of offshore drilling. After a wild day of 5-7 foot swell coming in at an 8 second interval, the 3 intrepid paddler-surfers made their way to Montara, exhausted and thrilled!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The 90-Day Plan: DAY 11

DAY 11

Just as Phantom Loads increase energy costs, wasting water also adds up.  The average American uses more than 100 gallons of water every day. 

Remember to SHUT-OFF water when you are brushing your teeth and washing-up.

Challenge:  What is your source(s) of water, how is it purified, and how far must it travel to your tap?

For More Information: 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

EPA Releases First Round of Toxicity Testing Data for Eight Oil Dispersants

The Environmental Protection Agency today released peer reviewed results from the first round of its own independent toxicity testing on eight oil dispersants. EPA conducted testing to ensure that decisions about ongoing dispersant use in the Gulf of Mexico continue to be grounded in the best available science. Additional testing is needed to further inform the use of dispersants. For more information, click here.


The 90-Day Plan: DAY 10

DAY 10

Eighty-percent of the biomass (life) in the Mississippi River is from invasive species, particularly Asian Carp.  It is time to get SERIOUS ABOUT 

INVASIVE SPECIES!  An invasive species is a plant or animal non-native to the area that takes over.

Challenge:  Describe one way how pollution, fertilizer runoff, and habitat loss each weakens native species.   What are common ways invasives species are introduced?  What can you do to minimize further damage from invasives?

For More Information:

The National Number to report invasive species: (877) 786-7267

Hurricane Alex 2010: First Atlantic Hurricane Of The Season


BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Hurricane Alex churned westward through the Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday, far from oil spill cleanup efforts but on a collision course with Mexico and the southern Texas coastline.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami upgraded the storm to a Category 1 hurricane – the least powerful type – shortly before 10 p.m. CDT Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, it had sustained winds of 80 mph. Alex became the first June hurricane in the Atlantic since 1995, the center said.

Bands of intense rain began lashing deep south Texas and northeast Mexico Wednesday morning as Alex slowed its movement to 7 mph. The National Weather Service pushed Alex's landfall back to late Wednesday night or early Thursday and raised the possibility that it would make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane.

Texas residents had been preparing for the storm for days, readying their homes and businesses and stocking up on household essentials. But the storm was expected to deal only a glancing blow to the state and to make landfall south of Matamoros, Mexico, and some 100 miles south of Brownsville.

The storm was expected to pack winds of at least 90 mph when it comes ashore, but those could increase to as much as 110 mph if it strengthened to a Category 2.

As of 7 a.m. CDT Wednesday, Alex was 220 miles southeast of Brownsville moving west-northwest at about 7 mph, with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph.

Coastal residents and vacationers looking forward to the Fourth of July weekend began preparing in earnest Tuesday for the storm.

Oil rigs and platforms in the path of the storm's outer bands were evacuated, and President Barack Obama issued a pre-emptive federal disaster declaration for southern Texas counties late Tuesday.

The three oil rigs and 28 platforms evacuated are not part of the Gulf oil spill response. Alex is projected to stay far away from the spill zone and not effect recovery efforts, but tall waves kicked up by the farthest reaches of Alex did toss oil-soaking boom around the water.

Texas also watched Alex's outer bands warily. Alex was expected to bring torrential rains to a Rio Grande delta region that is ill suited – both economically and geographically – to handle it.

Passing showers Tuesday quickly pooled along parts of downtown streets in Brownsville and Matamoros, a worrisome sign with Alex expected to dump eight to 12 inches of rain in the region and as much as 20 inches in isolated areas.

In Matamoros, cab driver Alfonso Lopez said he worried that that people would wait until the last minute to take the storm seriously.

"A lot of people trust too much that it won't be very bad or it will change course," he said.

In Cameron County, one of the poorest areas of the U.S. and Texas' southernmost point, Brownsville Mayor Pat Ahumada said he would wait to make his city's emergency declaration in part because the city is cash strapped and he did not want to start paying city workers extra before absolutely necessary.

On nearby South Padre Island, the mood was less anxious. Although hotels and restaurants looked deserted compared to the crush of vacationers who normally pack the popular vacation spot in the summer, those who stuck around didn't size up Alex as much of a threat.

One couple renewed their wedding vows on the beach as a few campers rumbled their trailers – reluctantly – out of the park hours before a mandatory evacuation deadline.

"It's June. It's too soon for hurricanes," said Gloria Santos, of Edinburgh, after hitching her trailer back to her truck.

Jerry Wilson, 50, also didn't think much of Alex while struggling to hoist a painter's pole in fierce gusts. With a cloth rigged to the top of the pole, Wilson was cleaning his 10 cameras across the island that will let Internet viewers watch Alex's arrival live online.

"We got two generators and lots of guns and ammo, so we're not worried about it," Wilson said.

The National Weather Service said a hurricane warning was in effect Tuesday for Cameron, Willacy and Kenedy counties. The coastal warning covered Baffin Bay and 100 miles south to the mouth of the Rio Grande.

In Matamoros, government workers stuck duct-tape in X's across the windows Tuesday of the immigration office at the main downtown bridge. Trucks cruised slowly down residential streets, replacing people's large drinking water jugs and cars packed supermarket parking lots.

Matamoros Civil Protection Director Saul Hernandez said they would begin evacuating about 2,500 people from coastal areas east of the city Wednesday morning. But Hernandez said his real concern was the 13,000 families in 95 of the city's low-lying colonias, unincorporated areas where residents frequently have no public utilities or city services.

He urged residents to make their own preparations to ride out the storm.

"This is where we live," he said. "We have to confront it."


Weber reported from South Padre Island, Texas. Associated Press Writer April Castro in Austin contributed to this report.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010's Carbon Offset Calculators

Below the Surface is not affiliated with, but is curious about the Carbon Economy and has chosen this site as an example of the principle.


How many tons of CO2 did that weekend vacation from San Diego to San Jose, CA just generate?  Between 0.18-2.4 kg/passenger mile according to one carbon offset site call  So a 2-passenger round trip flight from San Diego to San Jose, CA emits between 0.32 and 0.86 tons of CO2, which can be offset for between $3.19-8.61 according to  This donation to offset your usage goes to conservation projects on this site:


What is Radiative Forcing?

At high altitudes, the effect of greenhouse gases is considerably different than on the ground level. Aircraft also emit water vapor during flight which can cause the formation of ice clouds, called contrails. Where contrails persist, cirrus clouds begin to form which have an additional impact on global warming. Clouds can have a double effect on radiation: they warm the earth by reducing the amount of radiation from the earth that escapes into space but also cool the earth by reflecting the sun’s rays back into space. However, contrails lead to a net warming factor, which is estimated to be 2.7 times the normal effect (IPCC, 1999).'s Carbon Calculators use information from the US Department of Energy's Energy Information Agency and other sources to develop an accurate assessment of carbon dioxide emissions emitted per energy type or use. (By the way, the EIA maintains an excellent website with easy-to-understand and easy-to-access figures about all things energy related. We recommend you check it out at:


The 90-Day Plan: DAY 9


As you get to know the world around you, LEAVE NOTHING but FOOTPRINTS

Challenge: Try to leave an area the same or better than how you found it.

For More Information:

Monday, June 28, 2010

The 90-Day Plan: DAY 8


Make an attempt to UNDERSTAND YOUR LOCAL ECOSYSTEM and how you fit in.
It is important to note that you won't know what you have to lose,
unless you know what you have. See for yourself what recreational
activities are best for the area what, if any, current issues are at

Challenge: Rank the top ten endangered species in your area or region
and what is a threat to them; then determine what can action will be
needed to increase their odds of survival.

For More Information:

The 90-Day Plan: DAY 7


CHANGE YOUR MODE of TRANSPORTATION to your next destination. Even
cutting one trip per day from your drive lowers emissions, saves money
on fuel, and maybe even sheds a few pounds.

Challenge: Map out how many of your favorite places and friends
houses you can bike, skate, or walk to and take in the benefits of
spending time outside.

For More Information:

90-Day Plan - 90 Ways to Save Water

Below the Surface - Atchafalaya River Expedition featured in Reader's Digest

Kristian Gustavson receives the American Red Cross "Hero of the Heartland" Award

David Gallo Shows Underwater Astonishments

Below The Surface Podcast

Robert Ballard's TED talk is an inspiring, optimistic look at the future hope of ocean exploration

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US EPA Water Science News

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